Thank you everyone for an amazing evening back to live wine classes! Big thanks to the Campus Club for being an awesome host location as well.
Many of you asked about the cheese plates. Three of the four cheeses were made at the University of Minnesota (herbed havarti, cheddar, and fontina), and the blue cheese (“Ama Blue”) came from the Fairbault caves. Many of you asked about buying the cheese and I’m happy to report that for the next class the Campus Club will have cheese for sale on the way out!
This Welcome Back Wine Class meant so much to me. As I mentioned a couple of times, I was nervous. After over two decades of standing up in front of a crowd, the 15 month break during the pandemic knocked me out of form, or at least I thought it did. Many thanks to all who came up to me and said I did a good job — I needed that! I know the nervousness showed but thanks for being a great crowd.
About that boxed wine, and the region it’s from
This is the best boxed wine around, in my opinion. Like I said in the class, I’ve been leaning more and more toward these uplifting and brighter styles of wine, especially in the summertime. Partially this is just the trend of the moment, but here’s the real reason I like this wine: it tastes pure. What I mean by that is a lack of manipulations. It reminds me of a great bistro wine enjoyed in Paris, or something cheerful in a backyard in Italy.
It’s 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Gamay from the region of Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains. Learn everything you need to know about this under-the-radar area in this great article in Punch: A Wine With the Rhythm of Beaujolais and the Soul of Burgundy. And take note of the prices of their suggested wines … that’s what wine from this area normally costs, so you can see why I keep a box of this wine in the fridge at all times.
About the region of Red Mountain, Lemberger, and the Kiona Winery
Red Mountain is my favorite Washington region at the moment. I find it fascinating that this perfect place for grapes and wine is such a recent discovery. There is a ton of great info on the Red Mountain Vineyard Alliance website. Two hints: be sure to check out the video on the site (really awesome, 21 minutes long, enjoy with a glass of wine), and also on the menu bar click on the ‘Trade’ section for tons of goodies including maps.
The Kiona Lemberger, AKA Blaufrankisch, was the star of the show for many people. Learn more about this wonderful grape variety on the Winesearcher page on Blaufrankisch.
Kiona is very neat winery. Super low key, not seeking the spotlight, multi-generational, and really part of the founding fabric of the Washington wine industry. Their Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best wines I had in 2020. More info on the Kiona Winery website.
About that Douro Valley wine, and how to get it
Wow this was showing great! I first learned about this wine in a New York Times article, and when I found out one of my favorite importers, Olé and Obrigato, represented it I was so happy. When I procured the wine for the class, when everything was printed and there was no turning back, I was informed this was the last case in the market.
However, I’ve discovered that five stores in town purchased it in the last 12 months. Check these retailers and see if you can find it! North Loop, 1010 Washington, and all three of the Edina Municipal stores. Those are the only retailers to buy that wine in the last 12 months.
Onward to many follow up links based on some topics we covered:
And if you haven’t yet seen this, it’s a video made the morning after the fires hit Spring Mountain, made by the son of one of the winery owners as he drove from the top of the mountain down to St. Helena. If you’ve ever driven this road, you know how beautiful and special it normally is. This video for me captures the horror of that week in Napa Valley.
Thanks again, everyone! Hope to see you at the next class!